What Are Exercise Snacks?

A Healthier Michigan

| 3 min read

Exercise snacks are not food. In fact, they are short periods of intense workouts, usually only two to minutes, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The idea behind energy snacking is to have a few of these brief, intense workouts interspersed throughout your day, just like a snack between meals to keep you going throughout the day. The idea is that these activities are easier to schedule or fit into your day, while following the concepts of high-intensity interval training by cycling between high-intensity exercises and periods of rest.
To make sure you’re making the most of exercise snacks, make sure to do them at an intensity that gets your heart rate and breath up to make sure it is a high-intensity or moderate-to-high-intensity workout. To meet recommended CDC guidelines on weekly activity, you should have 150 minutes weekly of moderate to intense workouts, that raise your heart rate as cardio exercise. It’s best for exercise snacks to be consistent throughout the week. 150 minutes is easily divided up into 10-15 periods of 10-15 minutes each, which is great for exercise snacks. 

When should I “indulge” in exercise snacks?

Ideally, whenever you can fit in a brief intense workout or exercise, that is the time to fit it into your day. Maybe you have a few minutes before you head out the door in the morning, or a window if time between meetings or appointments. Maybe you find yourself waiting in line or on hold on the phone for something. All of these could be an opportunity to fit in an exercise snack.

Benefits of exercise snacks

According to a study from the University of British Columbia, even a lower quantity of high-intensity workouts spread throughout the day can be beneficial for sedentary adults and can even improve the enjoyability of workouts. According to the same study, more benefits of regular exercise snacking or multiple short, high-intensity workouts include:
Exercise snacking is a great starting point if you are wanting to add more movement into your lifestyle. It can be easier to fit these workouts into your life than to try to schedule around longer, intense workout sessions. The more you can fit exercise snacking into your schedule, the more likely it is you will enjoy your exercises.

Examples of exercise snacks

So, what is an example of an exercise snack or workout include? This can depend on when, where, and how long you have for the exercise. With a little bit of preparation, such as keeping water, a towel, weights or resistance bands handy, it becomes even easier to find ways to workout at a high-intensity in short bursts. Here are some examples of exercise snacks that might be easy to add into your day:
  • In-place exercises such as jumping jacks, pushups,squats, or crunches
  • A walk or jog around the block
  • Using stairs at home or work, walk up and down a few times quickly within a few minutes
  • Strength-training like weightlifting or resistance band training
  • Standing stretches

Related Links:

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.